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Reading Life: 20th April 2020

A photograph of a trellis in Hever Castle's gardens

I have talked previously about being able to have two books on the go, and every now and then I’ll have three, which includes an ebook. With the Coronavirus causing concentration issues, I found taking on extra books to be helpful. And whilst I’ve gained more focus, I’ve still those books on the go, and I’m adding more. Although it’s not particularly sensible in terms of getting anything finished, starting a new book when I fancy has helped keep my spirits up.

I currently have… (seven)… books on the go. It’s a variety, which has been key, and I do have a small raison d’etre for each of them beyond the ‘want’.

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Lillian Li: Number One Chinese Restaurant. I’ve been trying to get into this one for a while, so it is the book on this list I’m likely to finish last. I’m hoping the familial connections are better explained as the book moves on, because keeping track of who is family as opposed to friend or business associate is difficult, however I recognise that that confusion may be part of Li’s point, with the restaurant’s future and effective spin-offs centre stage.

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Oliver Goldsmith: The Vicar Of Wakefield. A book that was wildly popular in its day (1766), this one is pretty funny, though at the moment the humour is all in the travel; a previously well-off family have to move elsewhere when they lose their money. The language is easy, it’s simply that I made the mistake of starting it when the news turned grim and so I haven’t followed the narrative as closely as I normally do – I may well restart it.

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Caroline Lea: The Glass Woman. Lea’s book is incredibly different to her first; whereas When The Sky Fell Apart, was a devastating story of fictional residents of Jersey during the Nazi occupation, The Glass Woman is set in Iceland in the 1600s. The use of history is good; it’s very much character-driven and has few of them so it’s easy to keep a hold of even whilst there is lots of story detail. The social details are abundant. There’s a long-term woman in the attic atmosphere to the book; I’ve since gone past that part and as you’d expect, there’s a difference, but regardless the atmosphere of the Brontë novel remains and it’s incredibly interesting; 1600s Iceland is pretty different to 1800s Yorkshire but there are interesting similarities between her story of an isolated married woman (which, considering her first book, could well be based on facts) and the governess on a deserted moor.

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Michael Wolff: Fire And Fury. In any other time the following would make no sense: I’m reading this for the escape. Given the presidential events of the past week, I should add that I started the book a couple of weeks ago; after finishing Dan Richards’ Outpost, and having thoughts of non-fiction at this time due to my spring-summer non-fiction reading last year, I picked it up. It’s to be a purposely slower read.

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Shannon Stacey: Yours To Keep. My reasoning for this one is the good weather. It’s an enjoyable contemporary romance set in Maine and steeped in family that I first read some years ago. It’s my read for when the sun is out. I’m speeding through.

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James Rebanks: The Shepherd’s Life. Bedtime reading was going well until I forgot to choose another book to follow my previous; I remembered. I’ve had Rebanks’ book sitting on my desk for a couple of years; it’s actually my Dad’s copy that I bought for him, he read it, then lent it to me. Dad said I’d like Rebanks’ book. Reviews and the general raving a few years ago said I’d like the book. I like the book. I’ve only just started but the introduction is great in itself, detailing a day at school when Rebanks was a child; a teacher waxed lyrical about the Lake District in romantic, tourist-like terms, which the pupils – born and raised there – cannot yet relate to.

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Diana Evans: Ordinary People. Another ‘sun’ read. It’s different enough to all the others, and it’s very good – a promising beginning and a lovely, somewhat relaxed, literary style. I’d been interested in Evans’ work since last year’s Rathbones Folio Prize; I’m happy to have gone for it.

As I’m speeding through the Stacey re-read and am mostly through the Lea (68% – ebook) I should at least have some content for a round up at the end of this month. I highly recommend breaking at this time previously-imposed reading rules.

Are you reading differently at the moment?


Jenny @ Reading the End

April 20, 2020, 11:50 pm

Wow, seven at once! I sometimes have this many going at once, but it usually means that all but maybe one of them have been back-burnered. I’m reading differently in the sense that I can’t get to the physical library so I’m having to fall back on my own books. It’s going pretty well! I’m rereading more, which is always nice, and also reading from my TBR shelf, which is always well overdue. :P

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